May 14, 2013
On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you most of the time?
If you have gone through the week and can’t remember any joyous moments something needs to change! I find it surprising that many people I talk to have so little joy in their lives. Days and days go by without any real joy experienced! It’s as if we have been distracted from our fundamental need for happiness by our various responsibilities and goals.
It’s fair to say that as happier people we can operate more effectively in the world. Some situations we find ourselves in can appear unchangeable, so rather than looking at the whole life situation and feeling overwhelmed, how do we find smaller attainable ways to improve our circumstances? What about if we were to actively factor in some achievable, emotionally beneficial moments to each day?
I have a theory that we can build a bit more happiness into our lives one little moment of joy at a time (micro-joy) through “Joy Stations”. The idea is simple; list the things you like doing or might like doing, and then make a brief window of time to touch base with one or more of those activities every day. Each of these activities is one of your Joy Stations and each time you visit you top up the happiness-odometer. Probably best if these ideas are as simple as possible and don’t rely on anyone else or they could easily get hijacked. Activities that you might find pleasurable could be going for a walk, maintaining a small garden bed or flowerbox, take up sketching, expand your cooking repertoire, Take up the musical instrument you always wanted to play, do a “snappy happy” camera photo essay of birds in your yard or your pet or kids or abstract macro photos of cutlery….. Anything. The intention is to be actively involved in something that generates pleasure in your life on a daily basis.
Satisfaction versus Distraction
Approach this as an activity to be involved in, rather than finding a distraction that leaves you in passive receiving mode. An Internet research project gathering knowledge to put into action would qualify, whereas sitting on the couch channel surfing is pure distraction. The point is to act with intent and get involved primarily with an aim of satisfaction.
As an example, I love coffee!! It’s not a like; it’s deeply passionate love. I love making coffee as much as I love drinking it. I did some research and got an excellent grinder really cheap, bought a basic but very functional espresso machine and after much fine tuning with beans, grind, tamping and milk temperature, I can now make a bloody good Macchiato. My coffee machine is one of my joy stations. It’s a small activity each day that I can look forward to, then savour the process as well as the outcome, be it only for the two small mouthfuls it takes to devour my coffee of choice. This is the crux; It was not overtly expensive, it’s not time consuming but it has a huge impact on how I feel about my day.
Positivity is the lubricant of your soul.
How’s this for a wayward idea? The meaning of life is, to have a meaningful life! It comes down to that old chestnut of truth; balance. Life should meet us as much as we need to step up to life. I think we need to carry an expectation of experiencing some level of joy each and every day. A more joyous you will be more patient with your exchanges with yourself and others. If you are more generous of spirit, you are more likely to attract other happy and generous people to you. I guess the idea is that we are trying to grow into a life we don’t have to make excuses for; a good life.
Images and text © Andy Rasheed 2013
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